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Old 09-13-2010, 08:38 PM   #1
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81 Excella Diesel Deal or No Deal?

I just purchased an 81 Excella Diesel on eBay (item# 300463957421 ) The story is this: From the description, it seems like a great motorhome and I was convinced it would go for 18K plus. I made the opening bid at 12K knowing for sure someone would outbid me. No one else bid on the rig and I won it. Now I am wondering why.... If over 3000 people viewed this auction and I am the only person in the world to bid on it, what is wrong with it? I realize it's not a turbo so probably wont tow anything worth a darn but is there something else about this year/model everyone else in the world but me knows?

Ed Normandy
Mountain Home, AR
Proud new owner (I hope) of a 1981 28Ft Excella Diesel
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:24 AM   #2
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It looks like you got a nice MH at a good price. The catch is the isuzu engine, which is underpowered, but which you could replace with a more suitable engine for less than the amount you saved.

Motor homes have been selling so badly the last couple of years, people are being a lot more fussy than they used to be, and one little thing buys it a pass for most people.
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:56 AM   #3
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Hello Ed,

Congrats on the MoHo and on making your 1st post. Not being a MoHo aficionado I don't know about the value but there are members here with plenty of experience and knowledge of the MoHo market. They will gladly share their opinions regarding values, benefits, as well as shortcomings with you.

The important thing to remember is that there are no perfects rigs out there. They all have issues in one form or another so enjoy the rig for what it is and use any repairs as a learning opportunities.

Share some pictures when you can.

Regards,
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:50 AM   #4
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Ed, looks like a good deal to me. Lots of new stuff which is always a plus.

No matter what you're going to find issues with the motorhome most likely in the suspension. Fortunately most if not all parts are readily available so other than spending more money you shouldn't have any worries there.

I may be mistaken but I think the non turbo diesels can be upgraded to a turbo unit. Hopefully some of the other diesel moho owners will chime in on the subject.

Enjoy your new ride

Brad
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:55 AM   #5
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That sounds like a fair price. Are you SURE it's not a turbo? I was lead to believe all AS Mo/hos had turbos. I'd consider a overdrive if highway cruising. Pics?
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:28 PM   #6
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Our 81 280 is a turbo

I'm with Mike.
Quote:
Are you SURE it's not a turbo?
Our 81 280 Excella is an Isuzu TD. Your's is shinier with better captain's chairs. We get close to 15 MPG with it.
-Ken
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:37 PM   #7
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Hi Ed, Welcome to the world of Airstream Mohos. I have a '82 280 with the turbo diesel. The engine is actually the normally asperated engine that you have with an aftermarket low pressure turbo installed. Mine has plenty of power but needs more gears.

The book says the engine makes max torque at 1875 rpm. The coach does 60 mph at about 2800 rpm with max goverened rpm at 3200 making top speed at about 67 mph. On secondary roads this is not a problem but on interstates you definately live in the right lane.

Some people on the forum seem to feel that they must be able to travel at 75 mph and not slow down on a 6% grade. If you feel you must travel at those speeds you won't be happy with the Isuzu. You will however be happy at the fuel pump. We average between 12 and 13 mpg.

I did just install a Gear Vendors overdrive but I have only driven a few miles of test drives but am happy so far. I'm looking forward to a trip so I can really see how it does.

Keep in mind that you have a 30 year old coach built on a truck frame and it will not perform like a new vehicle. It is however a very nice coach that will perform as designed for many, many years.

Go camping, have fun, and enjoy life.
Cheers, Dan
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:43 PM   #8
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"Proud new owner (I hope) of a 1981 28Ft Excella Diesel "
In your bid I'm sure you left a few bucks in reserve for any surprises, maybe not even the PO knew about, plus doing the usual replacement of maybe problem items keeping the used one for emergency spares.
If 15 mpg is a norm for this model, you will be ahead of our 454 gasser by 4-5 mpg, I think it will be easy to drop the 'I hope'
Best wishes for a successful buy.
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:47 PM   #9
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15 MPG is advertised in the original Airstream Brochure...

I was pretty amazed when I drove ours home and averaged 14.8 MPG or better. We also just added a Gear Vendors overdrive. It sounds a lot less stressed out over 60 MPH.
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverback View Post
I was pretty amazed when I drove ours home and averaged 14.8 MPG or better. We also just added a Gear Vendors overdrive. It sounds a lot less stressed out over 60 MPH.
No glossy advertisement; ours gets a steady 15mpg, even with all my wifes stuff that she (claims) is needed for full-timing.
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:19 PM   #11
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Ed,
You worried about no other bids, I wouldn't bid due to location(too far) no double bed, had to read the reply to know about dining table, no shower picture. Not unusual for ebay to go without bids, also seller was unusual in that he didn't have a reserve, therefore your good fortune.
I think when you dust it off, you will be very happy, the seller sounded like someone I would like to deal with, he came across like an honest AS'er.
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:45 PM   #12
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WOW I feel like i just became a family member here. Thanks for all the responses. I was tetering on buyers remorse but feel better now. I will be picking it up on October 1st and driving it the 1000 miles from ElPaso to Mountain Home, AR on the 2nd and 3rd. My route is simple Interstates 10, 20 and 30. Any suggestions for overnight near DFW? My flight to ElPaso is on Southwest so I have two free bags to check. One will be pillow, blankets and supplies, the other will be tools. small inverter, GPS etc. Open to suggestions on what to bring for the maiden flight. The seller is a dealer, not the owner so it may have some of the upgrades discussed (overdrive, turbo, etc) that the dealer is unaware of. Won't know until I get there.
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:57 PM   #13
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Enjoy your motorhome - I love mine!
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ednormandy View Post
WOW I feel like i just became a family member here. Thanks for all the responses. I was tetering on buyers remorse but feel better now. I will be picking it up on October 1st and driving it the 1000 miles from ElPaso to Mountain Home, AR on the 2nd and 3rd. My route is simple Interstates 10, 20 and 30. Any suggestions for overnight near DFW? My flight to ElPaso is on Southwest so I have two free bags to check. One will be pillow, blankets and supplies, the other will be tools. small inverter, GPS etc. Open to suggestions on what to bring for the maiden flight. The seller is a dealer, not the owner so it may have some of the upgrades discussed (overdrive, turbo, etc) that the dealer is unaware of. Won't know until I get there.
My first stop would be a competent shop to have it serviced and a safety check performed. Heading out with fresh fluids and functioning brakes and suspension would be prudent.

Cheers, Dan
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